By the Numbers

Since 1 January 2011 I have been doing a photo a day challenge with the intention of both improving my skills and also trying new things out. I started with a small number of others who are still continuing the challenge. As more of an academic exercise, than anything else, at the end of each year we review the images we have taken and classify them into subjects. The table below shots the number of images in each category over the last three years.

Classification

2013

2012

2011

People

41

34

24

Events

28

27

30

Sports

5

5

4

Street

52

42

26

Plants

39

35

43

Animals

4

5

9

Birds

16

4

7

Insects

2

3

1

Urban Landscape/Building

72

71

67

Rural landscapes

14

24

14

Still Life/Objects

56

93

94

Weather/Skies

14

6

21

Transport

22

16

24

Jessie-4The table below is sorted based on the how the 2013 classification totals entered up and is useful to see how there is some movement between them.

Placing

2013

2012

2011

Urban Landscape/Building

1

2

2

Still Life/Objects

2

1

1

Street

3

3

5

People

4

5

6

Plants

5

4

3

Events

6

6

4

Transport

7

8

6

Birds

8

12

11

Rural landscapes

9

7

9

Weather/Skies

9

9

8

Sports

11

10

12

Animals

12

10

10

Insects

13

13

13

There was really no surprise to me with the top three categories given that most of my images are shot during my lunchtime around the city. What was pleasing though was the drop in the “Still Life/Objects” category. I say this because it is the category that usually carried images when I have been a little stretched to come up with something good for the day. This category also includes a very wide range of subjects including such varied items as Art works to food.

The classification is somewhat arbitrary as there is quite a lot of overlap. For example the majority of shots in the categories of “Street”, “Events”, and “Sports” actually involve people. I only classify images in the “people” session that are part of portrait sessions where the person posed for the image. If you summarise the categories into major headings then it is quite clear where I do tend to focus my attention.

Major Grouping

2013

2012

2011

People Related

126

108

84

Landscapes & Weather

100

101

102

Man Made

78

109

118

Nature

61

47

60

While there are 13 classifications shown, there has never been a single month in the last 3 years where images have been submitted against all of them. In fact there have only been 3 months where the maximum of 11 categories were shot.

Shooting people in the street

Last weekend was Wellington Anniversary which meant we got the Monday off work. As such it appeared that lots of events were planned to occur and the Saturday was particularly popular. In addition to several beach related sports event, there we two large scale festivals. In Civic Square there was “Out in the Square” which was a celebration of the gay community and at Waitangi Park the Wellington Pasifica Festival was held.

The events had appeared in a number of facebook posts with the comments from those going that it was a great event especially if you liked to shoot street photography. So camera and a couple of lens we headed into town and the first stop was Civic Square.

At first glance the event had all the elements that you tend to associate with gay events, namely lots of colour and drag queens.

The announcer for the entertainment certainly stood out from the crowd.
The announcer for the entertainment certainly stood out from the crowd.

Now flamboyant people are great to shoot and those that are entertainers I have no qualms about photographing them. But as I walked round the festival and talked to some of the stall holders I just got the feeling that it was not appropriate to simple shoot others on this occasion. I do not know why but I thought that there was almost a risk that I was trying to capture them as if they were a freak show, whereas in fact they are perfectly normal people.

I know that there is a bit f an argument that goes on in Street photography in terms of whether you should ask someone whether you can take their picture. On one side is the thought that if you are going to invade their space then you should be polite and seek their permission. Countering this is the equally strong argument that if you ask then they will pose and that destroys the candid side of the image that you want to create.

I am a little in both camps. For some images I will simply take the image, but generally if I want them looking straight at me I will ask permission. 

I found this lady's make, costume and the umbrella quite appealing so I asked if she would mind me taking her image.
I found this lady’s make, costume and the umbrella quite appealing so I asked if she would mind me taking her image.
The bright colour hair was the initial attraction with this lady. Again permission was sought
The bright colour hair was the initial attraction with this lady. Again permission was sought

We then moved onto Pasifica after a slight detour through the city.

This dog was waiting to greet people in a small gallery in Vivian street that we didn't know existed.
This dog was waiting to greet people in a small gallery in Vivian street that we didn’t know existed.

Pasifica was very crowded and it was a little difficult to shoot the craft being worked on without other people getting in the way. 

More headbands being made.
More headbands being made.
Making Tapa cloth is a very slow process.
Making Tapa cloth is a very slow process.
A lady weaves flax into little flowers
A lady weaves flax into little flowers
All concentration producing headbands, although not with natural ingredients
All concentration producing headbands, although not with natural ingredients

Finally on the way back to the car a street performer was entertaining the crowd in front of  the Te Papa museum. In the case of street entertainer I will normally shoot them first and then pay them some money. Wgtn180114-9

Tasman Street Model Shoot

On the week before I returned to work from Holiday I discovered that I had been invited to join a Wellington Facebook group for Models, Makeup Artists (MUA) and Photographers who wanted to collaborate on projects. Within a very short time I had a shoot set up with Ivy who was both a MUA and a stylist and a couple of models that she had arranged. Ivy showed me an example of the sort of shots she was looking for so I had a clear idea what we were out to shoot.

The shoot happened in a multi-story building in Tasman Street Wellington in the space below where she lived. The space was a large open plan room at least 30 meters by 15 meter and with a double height ceiling. It had been decorated and furnished with an amazing collection of items including one large graffiti art mural. It was really like one of those New York apartments that you see in the movies. The minute I saw it I knew this was going to be a great location.

The space was rented to a whole lot of guys and Ivy had spent about 2 hours the previous day removing stuff from it.

One of the original models cancelled out and so Ivy managed to find a replacement (Grace) in addition to June (who models under the stage name of Little Miss Moon). She had hoped that some of the guys who lived there would also model but all of them chickened out.

While the girls got their makeup on I sorted out what where we were going to shoot, as there was no shortage of spaces. We were going to start using a corner area and an old wicker chair. This was in a corner next to a couple of windows which presented an interesting problem. Namely how to set up the lights in such a way to effective light the model but not get the reflections on the flash in the windows.

I was using my two Elinchrom strobes in softboxes and it took a little fiddling to set them up but eventually we did with the following results.LMM-12 LMM-19 LMM-25 LMM-32a

We then moved on the second area which was the graffiti wall, and posing the two girls together. The wall was a great backdrop and the only real issue we ran into was that the model were different heights. A quick change of footwear and the following results were gained.

LMM_Grace-31 LMM_Grace-15 LMM-51Using the same setup we then took a few of Grace alone.Grace-16

Finally if you have an indoor venue that has a swing in the middle of it you just have to use it. Ivy selected a very flowing skirt but had June wear it like a dress which was very effective.LMM-58

While I would like to use some of the other parts of the room we ran out of time.

The pity with this location is that the building does not meet earthquake standards and in March is being demolished. A building with a huge degree of character will be replaced with a set of tiny boxed apartments.

Fast & deadly

On our way south from Auckland we stopped in at Wingspan in Rotorua. The centre looks after birds of prey with a particular emphasis on the New Zealand native falcon. We timed the visit to coincide with the flight show where they take a young falcon out and show it flying and catching objects.

Shown below are the best of a very poor attempt at capturing the bird in flight. I had bumped ISO to try to get as fast a shutter speed as possible but even with these trying to get more than one frame shot out of each pass proved to be a really hit and miss affair. I certainly gained a new respect for the nature photographers who produce sharp images of such magnificent birds.

Leaving the landing spot.
Leaving the landing spot.
The falcon flew mainly from a perch on the building to the handler. Its flight went within inches of us each time.
The falcon flew mainly from a perch on the building to the handler. Its flight went within inches of us each time.
Not the sharpest of images as it is a crop of a much larger image
Not the sharpest of images as it is a crop of a much larger image
I just loved the combination of the owl and the wagon wheel.
I just loved the combination of the owl and the wagon wheel. This is an Australian Barn Owl that managed to fly the Tasman but then got injured and now can no longer fly.
A Morepork (NZ Owl) gives a very quizzical look. These birds are normally nocturnal.
A Morepork (NZ Owl) gives a very quizzical look. These birds are normally nocturnal but this one has modified its behaviour after being born in captivity.

 

Roadtrip as far as you can go

I have been really slack on posting to the bog later so I promise that over the next couple of days I will bring it up to date with everything that has been happening since the last posting in December.

Christmas this year was very special in that we got to spend it in Auckland with my family including my new granddaughter. During the time we left my youngest daughter there with her older brother and my wife (Vicky) and I did a road trip up north. In fact over the fours days we were away we went as far north as it is possible to go in New Zealand. Right up to Cape Reinga.

Now I do not profess to be a landscape photographer and therefore the images below basically cover aspects of the trip that sparked some interest in me along the way.

The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei
The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei
One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay
One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay
Light streams through dark bush
Light streams through dark bush
Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.
Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.
All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia
All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia
This boat had definitely seen better days.
This boat had definitely seen better days.
The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.
The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.
Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was at Te Kana
Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was was at Te Kana
Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.
Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.
My tracks coming down the sand dune.
My tracks coming down the sand dune.
Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.
Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.
The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.
The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.

Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.
Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.
Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.
Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.
We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.
We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.
This is "Matua Te Ngahere" of "Father of the Forest". It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.
This is “Matua Te Ngahere” of “Father of the Forest”. It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.
I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof
I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof